Grockit Helps MBA Hopefuls Study For The GMAT

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Grockitlogo.jpgEntrance exam preparation is costly and not exactly what I’d call fun. A company that launched on Monday called Grockit is dropping costs and making the process a bit easier to get through.

Grockit was started by Farbood Nivi, who has been teaching exam preparation since 1998. He worked for Kaplan and was Teacher of the Year for The Princeton Review in 2002. Just a few months ago he decided to start his own prep school where students can attend WebEX classes.

Grockit is significantly cheaper than the major review schools but Nivi says his profit margin is bigger.

“The other guys tend to be enormously bloated as far as companies go,” Nivi said via IM on Thursday. “They have very inefficient operations. They spend $1.5 million to generate $1.4 million. The virtual world is cheaper and more pervasive.”

To start out, Grockit is offering 16 90-minute sessions plus the official GMAT review text books for $399. Kaplan online is $1,249, The Princeton Review is $899, and Manhattan GMAT Prep is $990. Nivi says that the Grockit price may go up a little within the next year but he doesn’t have actual plans to increase it.

“One student has dropped the course with a competitor and decided to buy a laptop with the money he is saving by taking Grockit instead,” Nivi said. “Taking one of the big guys means that just applying to a hand full of MBA programs is a couple of thousand dollars out of your pocket.”

For now, Nivi is satisfied using WebEX where students and teachers can chat and interact. In the future he hopes to develop his own software for interactive classes. He also hopes to branch out from solely GMAT prep and start ACT courses next year because he believes that the ACT “is going to eat the SAT.”

To promote his service, Nivi and his staff of teachers have signed up as experts on BitWine. They are also banking on word-of-mouth marketing, hoping that saving money is a major incentive for hopeful students.

The obvious question here is if Grockit is a get-what-you-paid-for type deal. Having not taken entrance exams in six years, I couldn’t think of appropriate questions to quiz Nivi with but his experience is impressive enough to say his school is worth serious consideration. Especially for anyone considering dropping major ducats on an MBA.


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  • Chad

    If Microsoft bought or built twitter…

    – “Are you SURE you want to tweet that?”
    – “Someone is trying to follow you, Do you want to Allow that or deny?”
    – “You are about to enter 140 characters into the tweet box, ARE YOU SURE you want to do that??”

    • Axel Magard

      – “Click SHUTUP! to tweet…”

  • Jeff Garlin

    “Cheng was in the Windows division where she managed the User Experience teams for Windows Vista”


    • Your Mom

      Your comment only serves to prove that Jeff Garlin is an idiot. Is it that she is more accomplished than you? Or, is it simply that she is a woman? BTW, Vista kicks ass.

  • Jeff Garlin

    Oh, forgot the usual corrections:

    – “Visual Search features debuted at TechCrunch 50 take advantage of Silverlight deep zoom technologies.” – not technically true, Visual Search doesn’t use deep zoom. It’s uses Silverlight as a programming model, i.e. like flash/actionscript, but that’s nothing to do with deepzoom nee:seadragon MSR.

    – “It’s not a stretch to assume that these features will be laced throughout whatever social media constructs might as Office Web Apps hit the beta streets later this year.” – you owe us a verb here. Typo.

    – “Reed Sturtevant, managing director of the Startup Labs in Cambridge, MA, has decided to pursue interests outside Microsoft.” – he must be pretty excited about Ray’s vision, or rather he has bought into it a lot less that you seem to have already Steve…

    • Jeff Garlin

      I forgot to mention, I am not really qualified to make these judgments, but it is common for me to talk out of my ass. I am bitter because throughout my career I have been passed over constantly in favor of youger more qualified people, many of whom were women. I am a lonely, hate filled loser.

  • Unimpressed

    Cheng has been recycled in derivations of this kind of role for the last 10 years in Microsoft Research with no bottomline revenue impact to the company. Ozzie’s “incubations” (don’t forget also about the ill-fated “Live Labs”) haven’t gotten anywhere on their own, with the exception of the Seadragon acquisition which is now called Photosynth…

    Microsoft Research will go down in history as a huge waste of resources for the company… they should instead be sold off to Intellectual Ventures for their patent portfolio because they sure aren’t amounting to any meaningful advance from a shareholder standpoint.

    • Smilk

      Your comment is unimpressive. It is obvious why you are commenting on a blog rather than making important business decisions.

  • mattmac

    lili and her team have delivered:
    – the first social network at MS (wallop, spun out in 2006 because nobody knew what to do with it)
    – chunks of the search experience in Windows today, plus more coming
    – social features in outlook 2010
    – social features in sharepoint 2010
    – the first large-scale wiki inside Microsoft
    – kodu, cutting-edge kids programming
    – many key patents in social computing, many in product development today
    – new social features shipping in bing tomorrow
    …while still in research

    This is first time running a product-scale org. Stay tuned. Surprises guaranteed.

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  • George Eberstadt

    Good luck in your next project, Reed!

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